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Hearings resume as Legislature passes House of Origin cutoff Wednesday

March 15, 2019 by SBCTC Communications

The House and Senate wrapped up voting bills out of their originating chamber Wednesday ahead of the House of Origin cutoff. Bills, unless necessary to implement the budget, needed to be voted out of the House or Senate in order to continue in the legislative process. Committee hearings resumed Thursday with the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee taking up the community and technical college system's requested bill HB 1714, which would grant a high school diploma to students over the age of 16 who complete an associate degree.

Child care work requirement bill heard in Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee

March 15 — The Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee on Friday heard a bill that would remove work requirements for full-time students using the Working Connections Child Care Program. 2SHB 1303 states that the state Department of Children, Youth and Families may not require a full-time community or technical college or tribal college student who is also pursuing a certificate in nursing, early childhood education, a mental health profession or paraeducation to meet work requirements.

Currently, students who are 22 or older and not participating in WorkFirst must work either an average of 22 or more hours per week of unsubsidized employment or average 16 or more hours per week in a paid federal or state work study program.

Rep. Sharon Shewmake, the bill's prime sponsor, told committee members she brought the bill forward because of her experience as an economics professor at Western Washington University. She's frustrated that students who want to learn and engage often cannot because of work and life obligations.

"I don’t think we should be punishing these students for being poor. I think we should be supporting them. I think we should be finding ways to remove the barriers to education, and this is especially true when it’s a parent because then that’s something that’s not just lifting that person out of cycles of intergenerational poverty, but their children as well," she said.

Erin Frasier, a policy associate for workforce education at the State Board, testified in favor of the bill's passage.

"During the last academic year, just over 47,000 degree seeking students reported having dependents, and this only reflects those that self-disclose, so the number is likely higher," she said. "If we really want to meet our state’s demand for a skilled workforce, we need to set aside our perceptions about the traditional college student and ensure we are supporting adult students with dependents."

Frasier also stressed that student parents with child care who do not have to meet a work requirement are more likely to stay enrolled and complete in less time than students whose access to child care care includes a work requirement.

2SHB 1303 passed the House March 6 with a 90 to 6 vote.

Low-cost course materials and system-requested high school diploma bill heard in Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development

March 14 —  At its first hearing after Wednesday’s House of Origin cutoff, the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee heard two bills that would affect the community and technical college system: HB 1702, which would identify low-cost course materials at the time of registration, and HB 1714, one of the college system’s requested bills that would grant students a high school diploma upon finishing an associate degree.

Boyoung Chae, a policy associate for educational technology and open education at the State Board, testified in favor. She was joined by Kristina Pogosian, student at Tacoma Community College and State Board legislative intern, and Chris Soran, eLearning director at Tacoma Community College.

“Identifying all your courses and low-cost courses will allow our students — especially the 38 percent who are receiving need-based financial aid — to make more informed financial choices which will increase their success in the class,” Chae said.

The bill would require community and technical colleges to indicate during registration which courses offered low-cost books and course materials. Low-cost is defined as materials priced at $50 or less. If passed, this bill would work in tandem with legislation passed in 2017 that requires colleges to show during registration whether courses offer open education resources (OER) for their books or materials.

“Fortunately, at Tacoma Community College we are leading the nation in using free and low-cost course materials in place of expensive textbooks. So I teamed up with our open educational resource team and held a thank you letter writing campaign to thank our faculty for investing their time in helping students save money,” Pogosian testified. “In the span of three days, we received over 150 letters from students because students appreciate opportunities to save money, and this is exactly what this bill will do: it will allow students to be informed of these opportunities to save money when they register for their classes so they know which classes are over offering low cost material.”

Soran told senators that OER’s popularity is growing at TCC. In fall 2012, the first quarter OER materials were adopted at the college, 16 sections offered those materials. That number has gone to 169 sections in winter quarter 2019.

“It's important to give the information students in their deciding which courses they want to take,” Soran said. “We also have data to show that students taking OER classes have better persistence than their peers not taking OER classes. TCC has saved students millions of dollars in textbook costs thanks to OER and low-cost options. We’re over a million dollars a year at this point.”

HB 1702 passed the House March 4 with a 96 to 0 vote.

Concluding testimony on HB 1702, the committee took up HB 1714, the college system’s requested bill that would grant a high school diploma to students over the age of 16 who complete an associate degree. Under current law, community and technical colleges may grant a high school diploma to students who complete an associate degree who are over the age of 21, enrolled through Running Start, or attend one of the three technical high schools located within a technical college.

“This bill will assist students to obtain high skilled jobs in their chosen fields and a better future,” Monica Wilson, a program administrator with Basic Education for Adults at the State Board. “We ask that you continue to support equity for all students in the community and technical college system by granting all Washington residents the right to receive a high school diploma upon the completion of an associate degree.”

HB 1714 passed the House with a 97 to 0 vote. The Senate companion to HB 1714 — SB 5113 — passed out of that chamber Feb. 13 with a 47 to 0 vote.

Bill status roundup

The bills listed below passed their chamber's cutoff deadline and will continue in the legislative process.

Bill number Bill title Bill status
2SHB 1303 Removing certain restrictions on subsidized child care for students at institutions of higher education.

March 6: Passed House 90-6

March 15: Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

EHB 1563 Concerning liquor-related privileges of students enrolled in certain degree programs.

March 1: Passed House 89-6

March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

HB 1702 Informing students of low-cost course materials for community and technical college courses.

March 4: Passed House 96-0

March 14: Heard in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

HB 1714 Concerning community and technical colleges granting high school diplomas.

March 4: Passed House 97-0

March 14: Heard in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

SHB 1715 Removing school districts' ability to withhold pupils' grades and transcripts.

March 6: Passed House 66-30

March 8: Referred to Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

SHB 1734 Requiring accreditation standards for college in the high school programs.

March 11: Passed House 98-0

March 13: Referred to Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

SHB 1791 Enhancing educational opportunities for vulnerable children and youth using funding distributed from the Puget Sound taxpayer accountability account.

March 6: Passed House 64-33

March 18: Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

2SHB 1893 Providing assistance for certain postsecondary students.

March 6: Passed House 56-40

March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

2SHB 1973 Establishing the Washington dual enrollment scholarship pilot program.

March 5: Passed House 96-2

March 19: March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

ESHB 1998 Creating a task force on sexual violence at institutions of higher education.

March 5: Passed House 97-0

March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

SB 5113 Concerning community and technical colleges granting high school diplomas.

Feb. 13: Passed Senate 47-0

Feb. 14: Referred to House Education Committee

E2SSB 5327 Expanding career connected learning opportunities.

March 8: Passed Senate 45-3

March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the House College and Workforce Development Committee.

E2SSB 5393 Establishing a statewide free college program by changing the state need grant to the Washington college promise scholarship.

March 9: Passed Senate 27-18

March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the House College and Workforce Development Committee.

2SSB 5433 Providing postsecondary education opportunities to enhance public safety.

March 6: Passed Senate 36-11

March 20: Scheduled for public hearing in the House College and Workforce Development Committee.

SB 5635 Expanding opportunities for students to pursue mental and behavioral health professions.

March 9: 46-0

March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the House College and Workforce Development Committee.

ESB 5755 Concerning veteran and national guard tuition waivers.

March 5: Passed Senate 44-1

March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the House College and Workforce Development Committee.

2SSB 5800 Concerning homeless college students.

March 6: Passed Senate 30-18

March 19: Scheduled for public hearing in the House College and Workforce Development Committee.

SSB 5851 Enhancing educational opportunities for vulnerable children and youth using funding distributed from the Puget Sound taxpayer accountability account.

March 5: Passed Senate 42-2

March 20: Scheduled for public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.

Trustees confirmed by Senate

Coming up next week

Next week is the first of two full weeks of committee hearings ahead of the session's next cutoff date — April 3 — the date by which bills in the opposite chamber's policy committees need to be voted out in order to continue in the legislative process. Community and technical college representatives will be on the hill testifying on the Senate version of the Career Connect Washington bill and a bill that would create the Washington Promise Scholarship program.

Last Modified: 3/15/19 4:17 PM
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